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The Significance of Mahershala Ali and Billy Porter's Oscars Ensembles

While some chose to make bold fashion statements, Porter and Ali chose to make cultural ones that will forever leave a mark on our collective Academy Awards consciousness.

The Oscar buzz isn't looking to die down anytime soon as we learn more about what inspired our favourite celebrities to choose their outfits.  

Mahershala Ali picked up his golden statuette in one of his most stylish red carpet looks to date, as he sported a custom beanie-style Gigi Burris hat inspired by traditional Jinnah caps with a Ermenegildo Zegna brocade three-piece tuxedo. Muslims of African descent have popularly been known to wear Jinnah caps with one of the most famous being  activist Malcolm X's iconic one. Ali, famously became the first Muslim to win an Academy Award for acting for his role in 2016's Moonlight. 

Mahershala Ali arrives at the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Malcolm X (1925 - 1965) at London Airport. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Billy Porter may have played awards show host while on the Oscars red carpet, but he was dressed to completely steal the show in a custom Christian Siriano full-skirted velvet gown. He wore the gown below an immaculately tailored tuxedo jacket and collared white shirt with bow-tie. The invite did say "black tie" after all...

The thought-through ensemble was an homage not only to the feminine yet masculine role of Pray Tell (LGBTQ Ballroom godmother), which Billy Porter plays on the HBO series Pose, but also served as an ode to legendary Vogueing Ballroom icon Hector Xtravaganza who once wore a similar outfit. Well-played Porter, well-played.

Billy Porter attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/Getty Images)
Image: @houseofxtravaganza Instagram
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